Friday, March 16, 2012

The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy - 4

One lesson that reality is showing America, by holding the "here's looking at you" mirror in our face, is that the economic myths we harbor have caused, and are still causing, severe damage and demise to us in every corner of our culture and country.

This is one of the issues Dredd Blog has been pointing out over and over through the years.

For example, in a fairly recent post, we pointed out a major myth, the myth that the military is the most competent institution in America:
In the first post of this series, we pointed out that most Americans polled in an annual Gallup Poll think that the military is the most competent institution in America.

In that post we perused Gallup Poll figures from 2009, as shown on the graphic to the left (red lines added).

Today in 2011, the military is still seen as the most competent American institution, according to this year's Gallup Poll, even though the wars they are prosecuting are not at all popular.
(Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids? - 2). Is there a new definition of "competent" like "you're doin' a heckuva job Brownie", or is it that we have forgotten Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, those wars that continue on and on, longer than WW I and WW II combined?

The military destroyed Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with millions of civilian casualties, and economic catastrophe at home, as well as within those nations.

Their destruction was conducted with a "competence" that leaves nothing to show for it, except dysfunctional government there, and a plutonomy built by the immoral greed and lust of the 1% plutocracy, here at home.

We spend more on the military, all things considered, than the other peer nations combined, so lets ask how "our most competent institution", the military, is paying us back:
How can we gauge what has happened to America in the past few decades and where we stand today? One way is to look at how America now compares with other countries in key areas. The group of twenty advanced democracies—the major countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, the Nordic countries, Canada, and others—can be thought of as our peer nations. Here’s what we see when we look at these countries. To our great shame, America now has
• the highest poverty rate, both generally and for children;

• the greatest inequality of incomes;

• the lowest social mobility;

• the lowest score on the UN’s index of “material well-being of children”;

• the worst score on the UN’s Gender Inequality Index;

• the highest expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP, yet all this money accompanied by the highest infant mortality rate,
Sly & The Family Stone
the highest prevalence of mental health problems, the highest obesity rate, the highest percentage of people going without health care due to cost, the highest consumption of antidepressants per capita, and the shortest life expectancy at birth;

• the next-to-lowest score for student performance in math and middling performance in science and reading;

• the highest homicide rate;

• the largest prison population in absolute terms and per capita;

• the highest carbon dioxide emissions and the highest water consumption per capita;

• the lowest score on Yale’s Environmental Performance Index (except for Belgium) and the largest ecological footprint per capita (except for Denmark);

• the lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of national income (except for Japan and Italy);

• the highest military spending both in total and as a percentage of GDP; and

• the largest international arms sales.
(Orion, March/April 2012). Once upon a time there was a better path we were on, when the middle class was growing and prospering, but at some point in time a plutocracy began to form, a plutocracy that fed on military spending.

We came to a fork in the road, then took the wrong path, and thereafter that plutocracy began to eat away at, and to gorge themselves on, the middle class.

Soon enough, a plutonomy replaced the middle class driven consumer economy, which was accelerated by the events following 9/11.

Events that are now seen by many to have been as mythical as the WMD-in-Iraq myth, instilled in the populace by the warmongers of MOMCOM:
At least that is the case if one gives credence to multi-district litigation taking place in the federal district court in Manhattan, concerning the 9/11 attacks, accusing Saudi Arabia of bankrolling that terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is being sued for taking part in 9/11 by various insurance companies, the estate of a high ranking FBI agent, and family members who say Saudi Arabia conspired to kill their relatives on 9/11/01.

The MSNBC videos at the bottom of this post contain, first, discussions of the case between Chris Matthews of Hardball, ex-CIA agent Baer, and NY Times investigative reporter Lichtblau.

They discuss the sworn testimony of two U.S. Senators, one of whom was a commissioner on the 9/11 Commission, the other was the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee overseeing the 9/11 issues.

Chris Matthews asks CIA agent Baer why the U.S. government did not go after Saudi Arabia back then, and why they still are not doing so now.

Agent Baer replied that it is because we needed Saudi Arabia to be on our side in the Iraq war then, they had big oil then, and still have big oil now.
(Fighting Terrorism For 200 Years - 2). So Saudi Arabians made up about 80% of the 9/11 attackers, and Saudi institutions bankrolled them.

But all we can do is hold hands with them, as we invade and destroy other nations abroad, all the while driving our middle class here at home into the ground.

In the post When You Are Governed By Psychopaths, we pointed out that this is not something to dance about.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Sly & The Family Stone perform "Everyday People":



Thursday, March 15, 2012

"American" International Group - AIG - 2

On this date a few years back, in the first post of this series, Dredd Blog took a look at American International Group (AIG), a company founded in China.

Some other posts on Dredd Blog, which focus on that company, include: UnAmerican International Group, Banque AIG & Family, AIG Iraq, AIG Liquidity Corporation & Family, and "Blame Game" - a.k.a. The AIG Truth.

Needless to say, when one attempts to follow that company's footprints and fingerprints around the world, one will find a trail that reveals the sordid corruption and criminality of the banana republic ideology that the Bush II regime brought to Americans.

Here is the text of that post:

Many are beginning to experience distrust any time they see a business with the name "American" in it.

And AIG is acting like it is anything but "American".

Lets face it, if something is "American" it has the interests of the American people at heart.

Just what business is AIG in that the government "can't do anything about" them giving out $165 million in bonuses? AIG received $165 billion in bailout money and the government put a new CEO in place of the old one. The government can fire people but can't stop bonuses?

Something is fishy in Denmark:
The AIG companies were one of the very few U.S. companies to have their origins in China when their founder, C.V. Starr, formed American Asiatic Underwriters in Shanghai.
(About AIG, emphasis added [the Chinese hacked that page, a wayback machine link for 2007 is here; also verify here, here, and here]). So AIG is originally a Chinese company that is now neighbor to Dick Cheney's Halliburton in Dubai.

Where it has the name AIG Dubai [the site with that URL has changed since the feds bailed them out, so to see some things they were into, here is a wayback machine copy of the page, also check out this].

To top that off the mystery extends to "operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions" (AIG About, [wayback machine shows it used to be like this, note the "Global Business Network"]).

Lets face it, when they are this brazen and Obama administration officials and the congress are slithering around stuttering to the press on Sunday morning, explaining their missing spines, we do not have a government for the people and of the people any more.

No wonder Larry Summers, on Face The Nation today, talked like a weasel who was an apologist in the fashion of the neoCon robber baron mouth pieces.

International conglomerates from foreign nations are running the show now, and Larry tells us there is nothing we can do about it because of "contracts".

Was he trying to tell us there would be "contracts" out on him if he did not toe the line and play his part?

UPDATE LINK

AIG was severely punished bailed out and exonerated, of course, seeing as how the plutocracy loves the AIG way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Inferior Structure

Teddy Roosevelt Elaborates
Posts here at Dredd Blog have wondered where the money went, following the largest infrastructure bill in U.S. history, passed a few years back.

For example, in one post, in December of 2009, Dredd Blog was still asking where the money went that had been approved for domestic infrastructure repair and rebuilding, in the 2005 bill signed into law by Bush II, representing the largest infrastructure bill in U.S. history.

Surely, with all the money spent on infrastructure, our systems in the United States are totally up to date, up to par, modern, working, fundamentally sound, and sophisticated.

Which is exactly and completely like any rich, well educated, great, leading, exceptional, and number one superpower, composed of hard working, tax paying, democratic, self-respecting, and concerned citizens would demand that it be!

The problem is that the money provided from the national treasury was evidently not spent on U.S. infrastructure, but there has been no complete or coherent answer to that question yet.

In today's post we will ask that question again, as well as asking "what has been done for other U.S. infrastructure, such as the energy grid and the water infrastructure?"

In that 2009 post, mentioned above, we pointed out that having the best infrastructure of any nation, as it should be, was not the case:
"The enormous bill -- 1,752 pages long" costing "$286.4 BILLION" known as "the highway bill" was the republican congress and republican president's bill passed in late 2005.

But it did not stop the Minnesota bridge from collapsing and killing American citizens, nor did it stop the great recession that is still ongoing.

So how is the next most expensive public works legislation in US history going to be any different?

The answer is that nothing is going to work until we stop destroying wealth with the stupid wars, the stupid military spending gone pork barrel wild, and the stupid military propaganda deciding our fate.
(Mega Infrastructure Bill To Make Jobs?). Consider also the fact that Teddy Roosevelt (1901-1909), was evidently the last president with sincere enough water infrastructure concern to do something about it:
Consider for a moment that much of our water infrastructure – the millions of miles of pipes, wastewater treatment plants, pump stations and drinking water treatment systems – dates to before the Roosevelt Administration and you start to get a picture of what we’re up against. (That’s Teddy Roosevelt, by the way.)

In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated the nation’s water systems a D-, the lowest grades of any infrastructure including roads and bridges. Not surprising considering we lose some 6 billion gallons of treated water each day due to leaky and aging pipes, some 14 percent of the nation’s water use.
(Troubled Water Infrastructure). Meanwhile, trillions of dollars have been spent to destroy and rebuild infrastructure in foreign nations, and to build a vast spy-on-Americans system here at home.

Those trillions of dollars were not spent on infrastructure actually needed at home, in the nation we love, even though that money taken from us was ostensibly slated for infrastructure improvement here.

We also have been concerned with the energy grid as shown by posts such as "A Grid We Can Believe In" and "Grid and Bear It", for examples.

That energy grid, upon which U.S. electricity is distributed, is especially in need of improvement considering dependence on foreign oil (America's Changing Energy Choices).

None of this needed infrastructure improvement is going to take place, unless and until the eradication of the robber barons takes place, first.

The next post in this series is here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Taking Without Just Compensation - 2

This is a post from 3/12/09, reposted today for your perusal.

And for your asking yourself how much things have changed for the 99% of Americans you belong to.

You have done nothing negative to your house for years.

But your equity in it, what you use as a measure of what you are financially worth, is being taken away from you daily.

As a matter of fact, one shocking article says it this way:
The net worth of American households fell by the largest amount in more than a half-century of record keeping during the fourth quarter of last year.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that household net worth dropped by a record 9 percent from the level in the third quarter.

The decline was the sixth straight quarterly drop in net worth and underscored the battering that U.S. families are undergoing in the midst of a steep recession with unemployment surging and the value of their homes and investments plunging.
(NY Times). Who is taking this equity, value, wealth, and worth from you?

If it was the government, it might violate the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment which is an injunction against violations of your property rights.

That amendment says "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation". When it is taken without an official declaration that is what is called inverse condemnation.

This current form of "taking your property" is just as real as if they build a garbage dump in the lot adjacent to your property.

The loss is just as real but there seems to be no just compensation to this current insidious mess.

We have suggested here and here some remedy that we feel could, if properly and carefully developed over time, bring more security and safety to our economy.

This UPI article indicates things are about the same now.